Canada's worst traffic jams

A new report suggests some of Canada's worst traffic bottlenecks are serious enough to compare with those in major American cities like New York and Los Angeles.

The top 20 worst bottlenecks were found in just four cities — Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Quebec City.

Vancouver had four of the worst sites: Granville Street at SW Marine Drive, West Georgia Street between Seymour Street and West Pender Street, Granville Street between West Broadway Street and West 16th Avenue, and the George Massey Tunnel on Highway 99.

The report commissioned by the Canadian Automobile Association found the most consistently congested stretch of highway in the country is a portion of Highway 401 running through central Toronto.

A bottleneck in Montreal, considered the third worst in Canada according to the new research, compares with congestion levels in Boston.

The CAA identified the worst bottlenecks by analyzing provincial and municipal traffic volume numbers along with GPS data over nearly 3,000 kilometres of roads across the country.

It says the report is meant to highlight areas where policy-makers should focus their attention to relieve congestion, which it argues hurts productivity and adds to overall greenhouse gas emissions.

Toronto's oft-lamented traffic woes loomed large in the data, with the city securing half the spots in both the top 10 and the top 20.

The study estimated the country's worst bottlenecks result in 11.5 million hours worth of delays and drain about 22 million litres of fuel per year.

But, former Vancouver chief city planner Brent Toderian said a slow-moving street in the heart of an urban centre could be prime real estate for retailers to set up shop.

"We can't all worship at the alter of speed and volume, he said. "Successful cities have congestion.... If you don't have any of it, you die."

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